I've blogged about different forms of visualization tools that can be used to help people understand a concept better. (Graphic example). Matt McKeon has put together this awesome chart which helps visualize the Evolution of Privacy on Facebook. It's worth studying for the privacy implications as well as the method of display.


Source: The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook by Matt McKeon
You're not using ActiveWords?!!  You don't know who Buzz is?!! You're in for a real treat!  Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble will interview my buddy, Buzz Bruggeman, CEO of ActiveWords, on www.fastcompany.tv today at 10:00 AM PST.


Buzz is always an interesting guy to visit with. To refer to him the CEO of ActiveWords is too limiting. Buzz is perhaps the best networker in the tech world - he's certainly the most prolific. (There are probably only 2-3 degrees of separation between Buzz and anyone in the tech world you'd want to meet.) I've had the opportunity to work with Buzz on several occasions as we share a common passion for all things mind mapping, GTD, and productivity.

Buzz and I first began talking about adding ActiveWords support for Lotus Notes several years ago. We finally did it and, with ActiveWords and eProductivity, millions of Notes Users can finally control the most productive aspects of Lotus Notes, from anywhere - even when Notes isn't running! I wonder if he will demonstrate or talk about ActiveWords and Notes on the show? (Hint to Buzz)

Anyway, here's the link to the live broadcast. I believe the replay will be up shortly, too.

Update: Here is a link to a PDF of my ActiveWords Wordbase

Operation Overload

Monday, December 10th, 2007
Michael, Totty, of the Wall Street Journal, recently interviewed me for an article on personal productivity software.
It's an axiom of the computer age: The very technology that was supposed to make us more productive has instead overwhelmed us with more work, too much information and a blurred line between the office and home. And we've repeatedly turned to software to get more organized. But can it really help?
We talked about a number of productivity tools that I use personal and professionally with my clients. He was particularly interested in mind mapping tools, so we talked about two of my favorites: MindManager and Personal Brain. It's a nice article and worth a read. Link to WSJ article

New Mind Mapping Survey On-Line

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007
During the last year, web-based mind mapping applications have grown significantly in their level of functionality and popularity. To better understand how people are utilizing these tools and what their potential impact is likely to be, my friend, Chuck Frey, is conducting another mind mapping survey.

Chuck would like to find out how people are currently using mind mapping tools and what their impact is likely to be.

If you use mind mapping tools, I encourage you to participate in Chuck's survey. He's posted a brief 12-question survey on-line.

Some of the areas Chuck's promised to cover include:

Which tool offers the best functionality?
What features matter most to users?
What are the biggest benefits of web-based mind mapping tools?
What are the shortcomings of this emerging technology?
What is the future of this cool technology?

I should also mention that Chuck has a wealth of mind mapping information on-line over at the Mind Mapping Software Blog.

The Brain gets another good review

Thursday, July 26th, 2007
After looking at the new version of The Brain 4.0 in greater detail I decided that there were a few colleagues and associates I really wanted to see this product. I know that I would learn as much from their review of the product as they would from my introduction. One of these people was Michael Sampson.  Michael and I set up a web meeting with Shelley Hayduk and Harlan Hugh, founders of The Brain Technologies, Ltd.

In typical Sampson-style, Michael's posted a good review of the product and his thoughts on The Brain.  If you are interested in associative mind mapping or the visualization of information, Michael's review of The Brain 4.0 is worth a read.

You can also listen to my podcasts with Shelley and Harlan on The Brain, here.  (part one and part two)
The Brain as a networked nonspatial interface to your thoughts: In this second installment of my interview with Harlan and Shelley, Harlan takes us on a tour of his brain and answers many of my questions. He even promises Lotus Notes users a treat before the product launch!

This podcast is an audio tour of a visual product, an interview Harlan Hugh and Shelley Hayduk of The Brain Technologies at their offices in beautiful Marina Del Rey, California. Also joining me, was my colleague and KM expert, Steve Barth.
As I've written before, Personal Brain is an amazing tool for mapping your brain. You might even call it a true mind mapping tool. Listen to the podcast and you hear why I think so. I plan to make The Brain a key component to my personal knowledge management toolkit along with Lotus Notes, MindManager, and other excellent tools.

You can listen to or download the second part of this interview with Harlan and Shelley over on my Notes on Productivity site.

Podcast: Part two of my interview with The Brain creator, Harlan Hugh.
20070628-Shelley-and-HarlanTheBrain320.jpgI recently had the wonderful opportunity to interview Harlan Hugh and Shelley Hayduk of The Brain Technologies at their offices in beautiful Marina Del Rey, California. Also joining me, was my colleague and KM expert, Steve Barth.
20061031-GTDOnTheBrain.gifPersonal Brain is an amazing tool for mapping your brain. You might even call it a true mind mapping tool. Listen to the podcast and you hear why I think so. I plan to make The Brain a key component to my personal knowledge management toolkit so I expect that I'll return to visit Shelly and Harlan again. If you have comments or questions, post away. I'm not sure that I can or will answer all of them but perhaps some of my other readers will.

I've just posted the first of a two-part interview with Harlan and Shelley over on my Notes on Productivity site.

PersonalBrain 4.0 - whole-mind mapping

Thursday, May 31st, 2007
If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know I like to use information visualization tools. In addition to MindManager, I've used Personal Brain as a tool for visualizing information connections off and on for a year now.


Last year I met Hugh Harlan, creator of The Brain software at KM World and he gave me a preview of the things to come in Personal Brain 4.0.

Continue Reading "PersonalBrain 4.0 - whole-mind mapping" »

Mindjet announces MindManager 7

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007
Mindjet announced the launch of MindManager 7 today. It looks like a major upgrade.

Some of the key features:
  • Ribbon style toolbar
  • Focus on topic
  • Tighter integration with MS-Office
  • More Map styles
  • Additional options for topic sorting
  • Additional topic styles
  • Icons and map markers
I've not received a review copy of MM7 (Where's Hobie Swan when you need him?) so I can only read the reviews, like you. (Sigh)

In any case, many new features. So far the most interesting to me are the Focus on Topic and Formatting features.

Chuck Frey has a very nice review, here.
A blog reader just sent me this link to tell me that my Webinar,  MindManager as a Knowledge Management Tool: How I use MindManager and Lotus Notes to get things done, is now up for replay on the MindJet web site. Apparently, they (Mindjet/WebEx) ran into some technical difficulties and lost the last 20 minutes of audio. 20070328-MindManagerandNotesIntro.gifThat's too bad, because we covered some powerful uses of MindManager and Lotus as tools for Personal Knowledge Management. You watch the silent part can make up your own narrative. if you come up with something great, post it to you tube and send me a link!

Judging from my email, there seems to be considerable interest having me do a follow-up webinar; I'll definitely consider that for the future. If you have topics you'd like to see me cover in greater detail, please leave your comments on this blog post. I'll review these comments as ideas for possible future webinars.

Here's a link to the webinar replay.


Notes and MindManager Webinar update

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007
For those of you who are still waiting patiently to view the MindJet Webinar on using Lotus Notes and MindManager, Mindjet is working on fixing a problem with the WebEx recording.

We had a great turnout with over 450 people registered and over 250 attendees in the live webinar - all but 20 of whom stayed 25 minutes overtime for the Q&A. In addition, I've corresponded with many of you about potential topics for future webinars on these and other topics. Thank you for your feedback. It's always welcome.

As soon as Mindjet fixes the problem review the recording, we will make it available to the public.

Thanks for your patience!
Well, the Mindjet webinar is now done, and it appears that it was quite a success. Last night, my children asked me what a webinar was, so we made attending one a homeschool assignment. Kathy and the girls logged in and watched the webinar on the big screen in the conference room. After the webinar, my fan club marched in with signs to let me know what they thought...


I love positive feedback. More importantly, I hope that they, along with the several hundred people that participated, found value in what I had to share about how I use Lotus Notes and MindManager as knowledge management tools.

By the time the webinar was over, I had already received 30 new emails from folks thanking me for the webinar, sharing how they use Lotus Notes and MindManager to support their implementation of GTD, and asking for my MindManager map of resources. Since then, another 25 emails have come in - and it's only 4:15 PM!

In a day or two, Mindjet will send me the WebEx recording of the webinar so that I can review it. I'll update my maps and create another map to respond to all of the questions that came in. Then, I'll make these available for download.  To that end, if you have a question that you wanted to ask but didn't, feel free to send it  to me. Likewise, if you would like to tell me how you are using MindManager and Lotus Notes as your knowledge management tools or if you have some resources/tips to share, write to me by clicking on the "contact" link on the menu bar.  For those that e-mail me, I will send the maps and links to resources.

Continue Reading "I guess you enjoyed the Notes & MindManager webinar" »
In case you are late to the game, Mindjet's asked me to share how I use MindManager and Lotus Notes to get things done.

I want to thank those who helped spread the word on their blogs. As of yesterday, Mindjet informed me that we had over 400 people signed up.

If you've not registered, there's still time to sign up for this free webinar.

I want to thank those of you who took the time to send in questions. I'll answer these during the presentation.

PS. A few folks have inquired about the new blog. A winter storm today and webinar prep has kept me busy, so I decided to postpone the launch until after next week.
A new class of web-based mind mapping applications - like Mindomo, MindMeister and Bubbl.us - has been generating a lot of buzz. Several mind mapping bloggers have covered individual applications, but so far there hasn't been a side-by-side comparison.

Until now.

Chuck Frey, of the Mind Mapping Software Weblog, has just posted a side-by-side comparison of web-based mind mapping tools.

Chuck, this is great! Why not add a fifth column for MindManager's web capabilities, for all the world to see?

Let's really turn up the heat!
MindJet just informed me that in the first week of sign-ups, over 250 people have signed up for the free webinar on how I use MindManager and Lotus Notes!

I'm still soliciting questions from people who are interested in using Notes and MindManager as a tool for getting things done and as a Personal Knowledge Management support system.

If you have any questions, please post them as comments to this post and I will do my best to address them in the webinar.


MindJet has asked me to present a webinar on how I use MindManager to get things done. I agreed, and on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 10:00 AM (PST) I will present a free webinar, entitled MindManager as a Knowledge Management Tool: How I use MindManager and Lotus Notes to get things done. That's the fancy title. My working title is "Mind Mapping in the Digital Sandbox." (See description below)  


I don't consider myself an expert in MindManager - to me that implies that I know all there is to know about Mind Mapping. (I don't.) Rather, I think of myself as a perpetual student of tools and methodologies for productivity and knowledge management. I'm always ready to learn and to share what I've learned.

I plan to share how I use MindManager in my daily work and how I've integrated it with other software tools that I use. No sales pitch, just show-and-tell about some of the geek tools I use daily.  I plan to cover a range of topics, including how I use MindManager and Lotus Notes and how I use MindManager teaching my children and coaching robotics teams. I plan to leave ample time for questions and answers.

This will be a fun opportunity, I look forward to it as much for the opportunity to share as to learn from your questions and comments. My goal is to make this presentation as informative as possible, so I invite you to submit the questions that you would like me to answer or things you would like to see. I look forward to hearing from you.

Please post your questions below. Also, if you blog, please help me get the word out about this webinar.

I've provided a link to sign up for the webinar at the end of this post.

Continue Reading "Sign up for my "How I use MindManager" webinar" »

Mind Mapping Software Survey by Chuck Frey

Thursday, February 8th, 2007
Chuck Frey, of The Mind Mapping Software Blog, is doing another Mind Mapping Survey as part of his research in the area of mind mapping software. So far, over 300 people have responded to various questions about how they use (or don't use) mind maps in their day to day work. Since these surveys often influence mapping software designers, this is also your opportunity to share the features you most want to see.

Chuck shares useful Mind Mapping information on his blog; please consider helping him with his research.

Here's a link to Chuck Frey's 10-question survey.
Following on from David Allen's Mind Mapping Webinar, where David discussed various ways he uses MindManager as a brainstorming tool, I 'd like to share how I use GyroQ and MindManager maps to support my GTD process.

I first learned about Gyronix GyroQ early last year when my friend, and mind mapping expert, Nick Duffill (of Beyond Mind Mapping) called me to tell me about his latest project. I was intrigued with the idea of a memory-resident capture tool that I could use to collect my thoughts to a map where I could see them organize them easily. I couldn't wait to start working with the product.


GyroQ captures ideas and actions quickly, without breaking your concentration - a kind of "interrupt management" solution. This supports how I use the GTD methodology helping me stay focused, and separating the capture of ideas and interruptions from their processing. A MindManager map can be a great place to process and review, and decide on whether something should become an action. But opening up MindManager or Lotus Notes just to add something to a list is a risky strategy, as there is every chance that I will become involved in the map again and start re-thinking, as my brain will have had time to incubate things since my last visit.
Continue Reading "GyroQ brings GTD and MindManager closer together" »

How I use Mind Mapping and my Tablet PC

Friday, December 8th, 2006
Chuck Frey, of the Mind Mapping Software Weblog, recently interviewed me about how I use Mind Mapping and my Tablet PC. Chuck asked some good questions. Hopefully, you'll find my responses informative as well.

How to select mind mapping software

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
Chuck Frey, of innovations tools, has just released his second ebook on mind mapping; this one is about how to select the perfect mind mapping program for your needs.

I've just received this ebook. At first glance I can tell you that it appears to be quite thorough and detailed. I learned about several mapping programs and tips that I was previously unaware of. If you are currently evaluating mind mapping software, this will be an invaluable resource. Chuck provides detailed photos and links as well. I look forward to reading it more carefully.

How to select mind mapping software

Thoughts on Visualizing Outcomes

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
This morning, I attended the latest MindJet Webinar,"Visualizing Outcomes: Managing Simultaneous Projects with MindManager and ResultsManager."

Today's Nick Duffill, began by presenting his Productivity Formula:
Effectiveness = Knowledge x Focus2

Key takeaways:
  • Prioritization is the key to progress - identify the important things to do, not just the urgent (e.g. the Covey approach)
  • A To-Do list does not show you what to do - it simply lists what you can do, which is why understanding your priorities is so important.
  • A Project-based approach does not have to mean "Project Management." As Stephen Covey taught us to "begin with the end in mind," funnel time lines for project-based planning are a more powerful planning tool than traditional list-making.  
  • Project dashboards present a specific viewpoint, purpose, and time frame.

Continue Reading "Thoughts on Visualizing Outcomes" »
This promises to be another outstanding MindManager Webinar. Tuesday (tomorrow), Nick Duffill of Gyronix and MindManuals will present a webinar entitled: Visualizing Outcomes:  Managing Simultaneous Projects with MindManager and ResultsManager

If you are interested in Mind Mapping and specifically how to use MindManager to manage your projects and actions GTD-style, you're in for a real treat.

Continue Reading "Visualizing Outcomes: Managing Simultaneous Projects " »

MindJet responds to heavy CPU issues

Monday, November 20th, 2006
Since I first posted my concern that some MindManager users, myself included, have had problems with high CPU utilization, several users have blogged or posted in public forums about similar experiences..

MindJet recently posted an update on this topic. If this problem affects you, I encourage you to keep in touch with MindJet.

KM, GTD on The Brain

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006
A fascinating day at the KMWorld Knowledge Management Conference! I came looking for tools for knowledge visualization and Personal Knowledge Management and I 'm not disappointed.


One of the tools that I've looked at off and on over the years is TheBrain by The Brain Technologies. Tonight, I had a fascinating conversation with CTO and Co-Founder, Harlan Hugh and Shelley Hayduk (VP Mktg & Sales). We discussed the genesis for TheBrain and how Harlan came to design the brain 15 years ago, based on the associative thought process of the brain. For those of you into mind mapping, TheBrain is not your traditional mind-mapping/diagramming tool - at least not in the sense of the Buzan model or MindJet's MindManager.

Continue Reading "KM, GTD on The Brain" »

No waste of clock cycles in MindJet’s response

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
Richard Barber, MindJet's VP of engineering, wrote to me today, in response to yesterday's blog post about moving MindManager to my deproductivity list. I offered to post his response on my blog and he agreed:
Thanks for your post about this CPU issue. It was a pleasure to work with you on the Lotus Notes linking [doclinks] and I hope and trust we can get to a happy ending with this issue as well.

After pondering how best to address this, what I would like to do is to go into this issue in more depth on the MindJet blog (http://blog.mindjet.com). I very much want to get to the bottom of this and hope that those who have faced this issue will work with us to get us the information we need. I ask you to ask your readers to read my post on the Mindjet blog, see how we suggest attacking this issue, and work with us to fix it. Please note that when I say “work with us,” that includes giving us input not just on the CPU issue but on how we propose going about addressing it.

The bottom line is that now, thanks to you – and thanks to people who have persistently raised this issue in the user groups – we now “get” that this is something we need to take a serious look at.
Continue Reading "No waste of clock cycles in MindJet's response" »

MindManager, my latest deproductivity tool

Monday, September 11th, 2006
I've just moved MindManager onto my list of deproductivity tools. I hope it won't stay there long - MindManager is one of my favorite productivity tools for getting things done and I've blogged extensively about how I use MindManager. For the past several months, however, several of my clients and I have been dealing with a problem that has become a big headache: excessive CPU utilization by MindManager. It's not uncommon for me to find that my CPU slows to a crawl. Opening Task Manager reveals that MindManager is hogging my CPU, effectively rendering my system useless. The problem appears to be worse in some maps than others, but it has been challenging to pin down. What I know for certain is that one of my favorite programs is losing its productive advantage. Apparently, I'm not alone...


I wonder how many MindManager users simply accept this?

I've decided to blog about the problem, not as a threat or to divide the MindManager community, but in the hopes that the MindManager community might pool its resources to encourage (and help) MindJet improve the product we use and care about. If this blog has any clout at all, I want to use it to raise awareness inside and out of MindJet about how to help make MindManager, one of my favorite productivity tools, even better.

Continue Reading "MindManager, my latest deproductivity tool" »
Last week, I posted a quick preview of a powerful capture tool for MindManager, however, I did not reveal the tool at the time. Well, the tool is GyroQ, it's from the team at Gyronix, and I've been working with this product for the past 6 weeks.


In this post, I'll share my thoughts on GyroQ and a simple screen movie to show how I use GyroQ and why I consider it a valuable addition to my productivity toolbox.

What GyroQ Does

First, GyroQ allows me to quickly capture ideas and actions via a small pop-up window, regardless of the program I'm currently using.
Second, GyroQ automatically populates a MindManager Map with all of the the thoughts and actions I've captured.

Continue Reading "GyroQ - a powerful MindManager capture tool" »

Ultimate MindManager Capture Tool - Teaser

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
Remember Actioneer? That was a great digital capture tool. It captured information in a pop-up box, parsed it, and pasted it into your PIM. Unfortunately, Actioneer is no longer in the digital capture tools market.

This tool, [name withheld to build suspense and milk this blog post for all I can] does something similar, only it captures directly into MindManager maps!

20060815 - Mind Map Capture Tool Teaser.gif

Now that's cool!

Full video screenshow preview coming soon.

Mind Mapping Revolution in Progress

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006
There are several excellent mind mapping blogs on my must-read list. Among them is Chuck Frey's The Mind Mapping Software Weblog and Nick Duffill's Beyond Crayons blog. (My regular readers may know that I've started a project to explore MindManager and ResultsManager with Nick and blog the process. More on that in another post.)

Chuck's blog chronicles the mind mapping revolution in business and I refer to it often to stay on top of news about mind-mapping and visualization tools. [Thank you, Chuck!]

Now, Chuck's asked for our help. He's trying to quantify the mind mapping revolution and uncover what people are doing with mind maps.

Continue Reading "Mind Mapping Revolution in Progress" »
I've just surfaced from 6 weeks of intense work, presentations, and client travel. Two weeks in Ojai with the David Allen Company, two weeks to complete and work on my eProductivity business plan, and two weeks of client travel to meet with clients who waited patiently during my absence. This, punctuated by a memorial service for my grandpa, my business plan presentation (miracle did occur),  a dinner meeting with Marc Orchant and a delightful visit from my good friend, Michael Sampson and his Mac. (We enjoyed a very quick Thanksgiving dinner and church the next day, followed by a brief visit aboard a special aircraft.) Blog posts on all of these, coming soon.

I am going somewhere with this.
I'm setting the stage for typically serious post-travel overwhelm. Whenever this happens, I apply the GTD work flow model to processing my stuff.  I'm now wresting with last 100 emails (out of thousands) and a small stack of papers, 33 draft blog topic ideas, and a business plan to revise.

So, what does all of this have to do with using a 24" LCD Panel as a tool for visual project mapping?

Continue Reading "24" LCD Panel as a tool for visual project mapping" »

Mind Mapping for Results, Part One

Friday, June 23rd, 2006
Today, we begin the first in a series of podcasts in which Nick Duffill and I will discuss mapping for results. Today's discussion focuses on an overview of MindManager/ResultsManager, introduces my own personal mapping challenge for the summer, and describes the steps we will use to get there. (If you're using IE, you can view the embedded map, above; for non-IE users, I've provided a link to the map, below.)
Continue Reading "Mind Mapping for Results, Part One" »

I've been mind mapping for results for many years. A few years ago, I started using MindManager, rather than paper and pens. Now that I can to use MindManager as a dashboard for Lotus Notes, I've been integrating MindManager into more of my day-to-day projects. (Thanks, Hobie!)


This summer, I've challenged myself to use MindManager to a greater degree - as a visual project management tool for a few key projects on my plate.  Beyond Crayons creator, Nick Duffill, of Gyronix, has agreed to coach me in using ResultsManager, a powerful MindManager add-in, to help me manage my projects using MindManager maps.
Continue Reading "Greater Results from MindManager - in Stereo" »
James Kendrick is collecting productivity tips and he's announced that the winners will be eligible to win a copy of MindManager or MindManager for the Mac.

Visit JK On the Run for details.
You may be aware that Michael Sampson's been trying to get me to buy a Mac for years. I've got nothing against the Mac, I think they are elegant machines; it's just that many of the core business applications that I use won't run on the Mac. Yet.

This week, I move one step closer. One of my favorite productivity applications, MindManager, has finally released a Mac-Native version.  With the exception of Ink, the MindManager .mmap files type is fully cross-platform between Windows and Mac.

Continue Reading "One step closer to... a Mac? Thanks MindJet!" »

Mind Mapping A Whole New Mind

Friday, April 28th, 2006
I've just finished watching Dan Pink present "A Whole New Mind," using MindManager and WebEx. For just over an hour, Dan presented concepts from his best-selling book.

20060428 - Mapping A Whole New Mind.jpg

I enjoyed Dan's presentation for two reasons. first, the topics presented in Dan's book are eye opening.
The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which right brain qualities - inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. Value shifts from Information to Conceptualization, and the way in which people work shifts with it.

Continue Reading "Mind Mapping A Whole New Mind" »
Ivan Berger, of the New York Times, writes that you can increase your productivity by 20% to 30%, simply by adding an additional monitor. I've been using multiple monitors at my think space for the past 8 years and this has certainly been my experience. Steve Richards recently blogged about how he and Bill Gates work in a similar way. While Steve and Bill are dissimilar in compensation, they, like the New York Times, get the value of multiple displays as an extreme productivity tool. (See photos below)

This topic has come up a lot lately in various forums, including the Getting Things Done forum, the MindManager forum, [Both on Yahoo] and several blog sites. [Update: James Kendrick has just blogged on this topic, too.] For some time, I've blogged about the best external monitor for Tablet PC mind mapping. Microsoft has done extensive research on this topic and concluded that two screens are better than one. In 2005, Pfeiffer Consulting published their research report: Apple Cinema HD Display Productivity Benchmark. Bottom line: a bigger display area can help you get more done.

I don't have the time to write a lengthy narrative, however, I thought I would share a few photos of various incarnations of my think space.

Here's my current desktop:

20060320 - Think Station w Tablet and Dell Wide Screen.jpg
Tecra M4 Tablet PC, Dell 24" Wide Screen Display, IBM TrackPoint Keyboard

Continue Reading "Multiple displays boost productivity 20% to 30%" »

Mindjet listens. I get my wish

Thursday, April 20th, 2006
Mindjet is a company that does more than innovate; it listens.

Do you think MindManager is an excellent tool for visual mapping of ideas? I do.

Do you think Lotus Notes is a powerful tool for collaboration and document management? I do.

In the next few days, I'll share some exciting news about the Eric Mack feature set, coming soon, from MindJet.

Stay tuned!

Consensus: bigger display, get more done

Thursday, February 16th, 2006
Well, my posts on the merits of high resolution desktop displays as a productivity tool (See here and here.) have generated quite a bit of discussion. The bottom line, if you work on a computer at a desk, get the largest high resolution display that a) your video card will support, b) your desk will hold, and c) your wallet can withstand.

Continue Reading "Consensus: bigger display, get more done" »

24" vs 30" Display for Mind Mapping

Thursday, February 9th, 2006
Yesterday's post on the ultimate display for mind mapping has already generated considerable discussion, both on and off the blog. Special thanks to my friends in the blogsphere for getting the word out.

I'm presently exploring whether (or not) the extra screen area a 30" display running at 2048x1536 represents a substantial productivity gain over a 24" display at its native 1920x1200 resolution for mind mapping with MindManager. (Assume, for a moment, that price is not an issue.)

Continue Reading "24" vs 30" Display for Mind Mapping" »

MindMap: Using the IRAC Method to analyze cases

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
There are many ways to analyze a legal case (or any issue for that matter). One of the most popular methods for law students is the IRAC method:
  • The facts of the case suggest an Issue
  • The issue is covered by a Rule of law
  • Compare the facts to the rule to form the Analysis
  • From the analysis, develop the Conclusion as to whether the rule applies to the facts
To help me organize my thoughts when considering the issues involved in decision-making, I created the above mind map, based upon the very helpful information on the Law Nerds web site, The IRAC method and this map have become valuable critical thinking tools for me, not only for my current business law course but in how I approach a variety of business and personal decisions.

[I'm presently having trouble getting my embedded MindManager map to display properly. It appears to only work when you view the permanent link for this page, Click here.]

Note: You will have to allow the Active-X control to see the MindManager viewer in Internet Explorer. You can move around, resize, print, or even download the map to your own PC. I recommend that you click on the menu button and open the map in a new window.

Use the links below to download my original map or PDF file:
20051127 - Using the IRAC method to analyze cases - Eric Mack.mmap
20051127 - Using the IRAC method to analyze cases - Eric Mack.pdf

A special thank you to Ben Templin, owner of lawnerds.com for allowing me to share this map on my site.

Using MindManager as a Dashboard for Lotus Notes

Thursday, December 15th, 2005
The power of mind maps as a visual planning tool is undisputed. MindManager brings that power to the personal computer. Lotus Notes is a tool long-used by highly productive organizations for managing their communication, collaboration, and coordination of information-related activities. Hmmm. Can you tell where I'm going with this post?

Here's a screenmovie of my test mind map with embedded Notes

Notes Doclinks in MindMaps bring together two powerful tools for information management:

One of the Lotus Notes productivity features that I use regularly is doclinks. In Lotus Notes, a doclink can be created to jump to a Notes document,  database,or view. The ability to embed these doclinks in my project and action lists gives me a quick and easy way to link to all of my support material regardless of where they are located. The beauty of Notes Doclinks is that the Notes client will locate the target regardless of whether it is located on the local machine or a remote server.

Continue Reading "Using MindManager as a Dashboard for Lotus Notes" »

Groove, MindManger & OneNote Tips

Wednesday, November 9th, 2005
MindManager and OneNote offer a compelling solution for brainstorming, visual mapping and digital note-taking. Unfortunately, they are not [yet] well suited for distributed group contributions.

I've come across a few posts about how people have creatively used Groove to handle file-sharing of MindMaps and OneNote Notebooks at the file-level.  I read that MindJet and Groove once had a formal relationship to develop tighter integration between their product. Unfortunately, information that I could find reference old versions of both products.

I'm curious to know if any of you are using Groove in conjunction with OneNote or MindManager. If so, perhaps you would like to share some of your best practices.

PS. Lots if interesting news on the home front. Busy with development at eProductivity.NET. My Paperless Tablet project is progressing very well ( I'm actually closer to YABHTU than I expected); and I've captured notes about my document scanning experiences. I hope to share these soon.

Tablet PC Slowdown on the M4?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
I've noticed my Tecra M4 getting slower and slower -- to the point where it's difficult to even use a stylus or a mouse. I first noticed this in MindManager. (I've done the routine AV scans, AdAware scans, etc.)

Suspecting software to be the culprit, I've experimented with a variety of options. I found a post about some known issues with MindManager in Pen mode. Lately, I've been experimenting with CPU speeds. What I've found, while inconclusive, makes me wonder if the M4 CPU, when running in a power efficient mode (I'm actually not trying to save power - just keep the fan quiet) slows down considerably. Is anyone experiencing a similar problem?

Before I reload the OS and the dreaded spamware that comes with the M4 preload, I want to rule out anything obvious (and, possibly self-inflicted) such as CPU settings, or specific applications.

I've got a client demo in a few days, and I want to make the best impression possible. Right now, I'm not there. :-(

X1/MSN Search MindManager & Lotus Notes?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005
I'm still waiting for X1 to add MindManager search capability to their product. I've been testing their Lotus Notes Support for many weeks. The Notes support is OK, but not quite ready for prime time, IMHO. And, they have yet to implement the list of fixes and required features that I sent them.

I've pitched the idea of adding MindManager support to execs at both companies. The folks at MindManager have indicated that they are willing to play. I hope that the folks at X1 decide to play, too; I think MindManager support in X1 would be a powerful addition to their product.

For now, X1's still on my "must watch, but wait and see" list.

Meanwhile, the new Desktop search toolbar from Microsoft apparently allows plug-ins. And, there's a plugin for Mindmanager!  (ComputerWorld | add-in)

A while back, I blogged about how my ideal desktop search tool would include support for both MindManager and Lotus Notes. I wonder if we'll see a MSN Search toolbar add-in filter for Lotus Notes?

If they did, I might switch gto MSN. My clients might, too.

Wishful thinking?

Homebuilt Tablet PC in the works

Saturday, April 16th, 2005
I've decided to see if I can build my own Tablet PC, or at least something like it - something that I can use to evaluate ink-enabled applications before I move to the Tablet PC platform. There have been many discussions about how to do this in the various forums - most recently on the MindManager forum. So far, I have the Tablet OS loaded and MindManager will now launch in pen mode.

I'll have to forage through my junk room to see what I can come up with for a mega digitizer. Perhaps I can retrofit my LiveBoard to the task. Imagine ... a Tablet PC with a 6' drawing surface. That would be really cool. On second thought the LiveBoard weighs over 600 lbs.

I guess I won't be able to call it a tablet.

ResultsManager Tune-Up

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005
I enjoyed a productive ResultsManager coaching session today with Nick Duffill, and Nic Tipler of Gyronix. These guys created the powerful add-in to MindJet's MindManager that allows you to visually manage your projects and actions.

As you know, I'm a big fan of MindManager and MindMaps. I've been working with ResultsManager for some time, however, I've always been aware that I was not using the program to its fullest potential. After today's tune-up, I see several new ways that I can use ResultsManager as a part of my planning process, weekly review, and for project management.

I'd like to eventually integrate ResultsManager and MindManager into the way that I use Lotus Notes so that I can visually map the information in my eProductivity template. The folks at MindJet and Gyronix are supportive of my efforts to do so, and have offered assistance in the process.  Last year, I evaluated a few commercial tools that provide Notes <> MindManager integration. At the time, I did not feel that either was ready for prime time - at least not for what I wanted to do. I'll revaluate both in the coming weeks. Hopefully, I'll have something exciting to show before long.

One neat thing about working with Gyronix team is that they are open to suggestions, and they are responsive. Already, several features that I have recommended have made it into the current product.

If you currently use ResultsManager, be sure to update to the latest version. The new ResultsManager Wizard simplifies many things. If you've never seen or tried ResultsManager, click over to gyronix.com. You can download a 21 day trial of ResultsManager and MindManager from the site.


Three great MindManager blogs

Monday, March 28th, 2005
If you want to learn more about the many things that you can do with MindManager, my favorite visual mapping tool, be sure to add these three people to your RSS reader.

Mike Jetter - MindJet's CTO
Hobie Swan - has a terrific  post about using MindManager on the TabletPC
Nick Duffill - Co-author of ResultsManager add-in for MindManager

MindManager Wish List

Saturday, February 12th, 2005
This evening, I met with Marc Orchant via Skype to talk about geek stuff. (Blogs, Podcasting, RSS, etc.)  I first met Marc through his office and tablet blogs. Our common interest in using technology to get things done has brought us together for extended virtual geek meetings more than once. (I know, pretty sad. A geek party on the phone on a Saturday night.)

Our meeting went something like this:  we initiated the meeting in Skype, then I brought up MindManager - my idea capturing tool of choice -- and then Marc connected to my PC using Glance. It's not a very good testimony for tight software integration, but at the same time - unlike our misfortunes with MSN Messenger - everything worked.

Our conversation quickly shifted from Blogs and Podcasting to MindManager and how each of us were using it. I shared with Marc some of the things that I would like to see, add-ins for MindManager that I believe would add utility to the product.  He suggested that I blog about them, so here are my three wishes:

1. I want to be able to search Mind Maps using X1

I know I'm not the first to suggest this, but I think X1 and MindManager represent a powerful combination for information management. The people who use Mind Manager are already into idea capture, knowledge management, and tracking; it is logical, therefore, that they will want to search what they have entered into their maps. I should think that MindManager customers would represent a potential instant customer base for X1 -- especially since no other product that I'm aware of provides desktop search into MindManager files. (I don't think this would be too hard to do either; the MindManager X5 files are all in XML and they already have an awesome viewer.) For the MindJet marketing team, having a powerful desktop search tool, such as X1, would certainly raise the level to which people might be willing to use MM to track their information. I know that for me, one of the negative aspects of using MM for information management is the limited ability to search outside of MM. I believe this combination would add significant value to both products.  

2. I would like to use MindManager as a front-end for X1

MindManager has a nifty feature to allow it to pull in an RSS feed. What if it could import the X1 search results, automatically generating a visual display of the information on your computer, complete with hypertext links to content and files. Now that would be really powerful.

3. I "wish" MindManager could read Trackbacks and referrers

OK, I'm not going to push hard for this feature, but I think it would be neat to be able see a real-time visual map of a particular blog post and all of the related blog posts that refer to it.  Marc described this as something like fractals for blogs. I like that metaphor.  MindManger already has the ability to pull in an RSS feed and it actually does a respectable job. I'm sure a clever and talented programmer (hint) could come up with a way to script what I want to accomplish.

What do you think? Do any of these features sound like useful tools to you? I'd like to hear from you. I will be sure to pass along your comments to people I know in the MindManger community. Marc's offered to do the same for X1. My hope is that if there is sufficient interest in these features these fine vendors will take notice. (Hint, hint)

Perhaps, by the next time that Marc and I have our next virtual geek call, I'll have more news to share about my three wishes.

Mind maps as a study tool

Monday, September 13th, 2004
I recently blogged about MindManager, and how I have been using it for a variety of business applications.  As a technologist, I really enjoy evaluating new software and hardware in order to advise my clients. On the personal side, I am planning to teach our Jr. Robotics team how to use MindManager, ResultManager, and even OneNote to help them capture and manage their ideas for the competition. (More on this and a link to the girl's blog soon.)

For the past 8 weeks, I have been noting my progress using MindManager exclusively as a note-taking tool for a New Testament Survey course that I have just completed. I wanted to see if I could take an entire course, using only mind maps as my knowledge capture tool. I also wanted to see if the visual capture, representation, and retrieval of information could be accomplished in real-time, on my laptop, as efficiently as I have been able to do in the past by hand...

Mind mapping has helped me increase my understanding of the material that I studied; it also improved my ability to quickly recall information in context. It was easy for me to visually organize the topical relationship between my notes - both while I was studying as well as in review.

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Image:Mind maps as a study tool

I found that taking notes in class on my ThinkPad was easy, however, I was concerned that it might be distracting to the professor or to others in the room. (Michael Hyatt has addressed some of this in his post on why he bought a TabletPC.) Therefore, for the first part of this experiment, I primarily used MindManager outside of class to make maps of each book as I read and studied them.

One unexpected result
of making mind maps for everything that I read or studied, was that it increased my study-time. However, It also increased my ability to recall information, so it was well worth it. I attribute this to the ease with which it was possible to go into greater detail -- sometimes much more than was required for the course. I found that it is simply more fun to study a visual map of my knowledge rather than a page of notes in linear form. Ultimately, I did have to limit the scope of my maps, based on my available time. Again, this is not a flaw in the methodology or the technology -- just me, learning how to best adapt these tools to my needs.

I consider my experiment, creating visual outlines in real-time, to have been a success.

Both my note-taking and my studies of the Scriptures have been enhanced as a result. Mind Manager, as a capture tool, facilitated the process greatly. I am starting to add ResultManager into the mix so that I can capture assignments and actions in real-time.

In addition to the digital maps on my laptop, I now have a 3-ring binder at home with large fold-out maps on each book I have studied and its background. (Yes, I know, I could keep the maps on my computer, but I still like the feel of flipping through paper.) I'm sure that when I get a TabletPC, I will think differently. (Open invitation for Marc or Michael to respond.)

For the student in us all, I highly recommend visual mapping as a study aid;
MindManager is my tool of choice to create and manage my maps.


*The source materials I used for the course were, the New English Translation (NET Bible), as well as two reference texts: Survey of the New Testament, by Paul N. Benware, and The MacArthur Bible Handbook, by John MacArthur.

MindManager for Kids

Friday, August 27th, 2004
To visualize some ideas for their U.S. FIRST Jr. Robotics Team, I taught Amy and Wendy how to use my computer to create a mind map. We loaded up MindManager and within minutes the kids were using the software to create their basic map.

Image:MindManager for Kids

Mind mapping is not new to my kids. MindManager just makes the process much easier.

I really enjoy coaching Jr. Robotics because it provides me with a tangible way to show young people the results of their creative thinking in action.

I plan to look into teaching the team how to use MindManager as part of the preparations for this year's competition.

Over the next 4 months, the girls and I will be blogging about our team experiences on the way to the robotics competition. Be sure to add this site's RSS feed to your reader so that you can remain informed.  

Until then, here's a link to the girl's 2002 Jr. Robotics web site.

Mind Mapping for Results

Sunday, July 25th, 2004
I've just finished the second of two delightful and informative web-conference calls with Nick Duffill, of Gyronix. Nick and his associate have developed ResultManager -  a powerful add-in to MindManager, that allows it to be used as a visual project management tool. I must admit that I had initially looked at ResultManager as just a great collection support tool; however, after a brief tour with Nick, I'm convinced of its potential as a visual management tool for meetings and projects where many actions or delegated activities need to be tracked.

Image:Mind Mapping for Results

In short, the process of "Mind Mapping" will change the way that you brainstorm forever. Rather than writing down a linear list of ideas, you to collect ideas into a visual "Mind Map." Mind mapping, by the way,  is nothing new; Tony Buzan developed the concept of Mind Maps at a time when I was still using crayons to illustrate my ideas visually.

I've been using Mind Mapping as a brainstorming technique for many years; however, I have usually preferred to use colored pens and paper or a digital whiteboard to draw my maps. Most software tools that I have looked at were simply too slow or cumbersome for me to quickly collect my thoughts digitally. Of course, the appeal of being able to edit my maps digitally has kept me looking at new tools.

The MindManager software takes mind mapping to the next level  by allowing me to draw, edit, and manage my maps on my PC. Now, I can keep my mind maps in view on the wall in front of me while I keep my work visible on my laptop or an adjacent display. At the encouragement of Marc Orchant and Michael Hyatt, I might even finally consider a tablet!

Image:Mind Mapping for Results

Much has been written about the MindManager software lately so I won't attempt to rewrite what others have already said. Here's a quick 2003 write up from Innovation tools. I have also recently started a discussion in the GTD Forum on how MindManager might be used in the context of the GTD methodology. (I recall that Marc and Michael have both written on this topic as well; I'll post the links when I find them.)

For those of you who are already using MindManager and want to take digital mind mapping next level for project management, be sure to take a look at ResultManager. I've installed version 2.01 of ResultManager, which adds some powerful features for visual project management.

I'll have more to share about this in the near future as I am presently mapping out several very large project using both tools. I continue to be a student of tools and technologies for enhanced productivity. I'm excited about MindManager and ResultManager.

I welcome your comments and feedback.


PS. You can download 21 day evaluations of both products from the Gyronix web site.